Review, Interview & Giveaway: The Queen's Gamble by Barbara Kyle

>> Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Barbara Kyle's upcoming release, The Queen's Gamble, is as rich and intricate as it's gorgeous cover. 

Before I forget, I have 5 beautiful bookmarks to give away!
AND a print ARC of The Queen's Gamble!
Comment  or ask Barbara a questions to enter.
Open internationally.

I am the first to admit to a historical knowledge deficit, alarming (or maybe more embarrassing) considering my father was a history teacher for 30+ years. But I can't deny my fascination with Barbara Kyle's ability to weave true history with her own brand of fiction--complex story lines, unexpected twists, seething passion and drama galore. Add in rich characters with seemingly insurmountable conflict, stakes high enough to spear clouds and a smooth, engaging writing style ... you've got a real can't-put-it-down read.

I could go on and on about how this book held my attention and gave me a read beyond anything I anticipated, but RT Reviews and Publisher's Weekly -- the REAL reviewing professionals -- already do it so well:

... action-packed adventure that expertly blends fiction with history ... a pulsating story of valor and greed, love and passion, and the tremendous cost of loyalty." - Publishers Weekly blog

"Not only does Kyle create memorable characters, but she infuses her stories with lush historical detail, fascinating intrigues and court drama. History and romance merge, loyalty and passions run high and readers are riveted to the pages of her highly addictive novels.- RT Reviews

Young Queen Elizabeth I’s path to the throne has been a perilous one, and already she faces a dangerous crisis. French troops have landed in Scotland to quell a rebel Protestant army, and Elizabeth fears once they are entrenched on the border, they will invade England.

Isabel Thornleigh has returned to London from the New World with her Spanish husband, Carlos Valverde, and their young son. Ever the queen’s loyal servant, Isabel is recruited to smuggle money to the Scottish rebels. Yet Elizabeth’s trust only goes so far—Isabel’s son will be the queen’s pampered hostage until she completes her mission. Matters grow worse when Isabel’s husband is engaged as military advisor to the French, putting the couple on opposite sides in a deadly cold war.

Set against a lush, vibrant backdrop peopled with unforgettable characters and historical figures, The Queen’s Gamble is a story of courage, greed, passion, and the high price of loyalty…

Now, a little about Barbara
First let me say to Joan, thanks so much for inviting me to your blog. It’s a pleasure to reach out to your readers. (Everybody, check out Joan’s upcoming novel, Fever.)

Q: You weave real history in with fiction to create your novels. That’s fascinating. What sparked that idea?
Movies. Filmmakers have used this technique forever; it’s a grand tradition that I’ve incorporated into my novels. I’m scrupulous about not deviating from the historical record – for example in 1558 Queen Elizabeth did secretly send money to help the Scottish rebels fight their French overlords, and when this “cold war” broke into a hot one she sent an army. Then, into real frameworks like this I set my fictional characters – members of the rising, middle-class Thornleigh family – to play crucial parts in the historical drama.

Q: What is your writing routine?
In the early morning I answer emails for about an hour. For the rest of the morning I fix what I wrote the day before. That’s my favorite thing to do – I could fix forever – so I have to cut myself off at noon. Quick lunch (often eaten at my desk: messy). Then I buckle down to create the next bit. I aim to create five pages a day, but rarely make it; usually it’s three or four pages. At about three o’clock I’m done, and I go for a walk or to the gym.

Q: Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
Great writers of big stories like Leon Uris, Margaret Mitchell, Herman Wouk. And fine writers of narrative non-fiction like David McCullough on John Adams; David Starkey on Elizabeth I; Adam Hochschild on WWI; Erik Larson on Berlin as Hitler came to power. I never tire of reading how we got where we are now, a.k.a. history. 
Even more vivid and beautiful in person.
Reminds me of red velvet cake - YUM!
Q: How does your family view your writing career?
My husband is my biggest supporter and best editor, really almost a co-author. We talk about my characters all the time. If people overheard us they’d think we’re brainsick. (Isn’t that a terrific word? It’s a 16th century word. I use it whenever I can in my Tudor novels.)

Q: How do you keep in touch with your readers?
My Facebook Author Page at is fun. I respond to almost every comment that readers post there. Also, I love running contests; the one I’m running now is to name the grand new manor house that my characters have built. I also send out a Newsletter every few months. And I adore Twitter and tweet every day. Follow me at @BKyleAuthor.

Q: What authors do you like to read?
Anyone, in any genre, who brings to life the human condition with grace and panache. I’m always reading, about half fiction and half non-fiction.

Q: Do you have a second career? If not, what did you do before you became a full-time writer?
I write full-time, plus every few months I run my “Master Class: Your Novel in Workshop” weekend for writers. I really enjoy helping emerging writers. Before I became an author I enjoyed a twenty-year acting career in theater and TV.

Q: What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Characters that readers care about. And, always, characters who face huge challenges.

Q: What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Perseverance. And a love of humanity. I don’t mean sentimentality, which is all surface, I mean a deep empathy for the shared values of all peoples in all times.

Q: Which is your favorite of the books you have written?
Yikes, that’s like asking a mother which of her children she loves most! Truly, all of them. Except the work-in-progress, which at the moment is an unruly adolescent, but I have faith that it’s just a stage. Writing, like being a parent, takes a lot of faith.

Q: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I cannot write with any noise around; even a radio in the next room makes me crazy. I can, however, write anywhere, as long as I have silence, heat, and tea.

Q: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Walk, just about every day. Sail - my husband and I have a Cal-46 ketch and we sail her on beautiful Georgian Bay, Lake Huron. And I cook. I’m a very good cook. Vegetarian.

Q: Tell us about your upcoming release.
The Queen’s Gamble is the fourth book in my Tudor-era “Thornleigh” series. Isabel, the Thornleighs’ daughter, returns to London from the New World with her Spanish husband Carlos Valverde and their young son, and is swept up in the first international crisis of the young Queen’s Elizabeth reign: the French, who control Scotland, have landed troops along England’s border, threatening an invasion. The Queen recruits Isabel to take money secretly to aid the Scottish rebel faction trying to drive out the French. But when Carlos is sent to Scotland as a military advisor to the French troops, he and Isabel find they are on opposite sides in this deadly war – and the Queen has made their little boy her hostage.

Q: Where can we find you online? Do visit!

Comment or ask Barbara a questions to enter for a chance to WIN:

1 of 5 beautiful handmade bookmarks
A print ARC of The Queen's Gamble
Open internationally
**MUST** leave contact email to WIN

Barbara Kyle is the author of the Tudor-era novels The Queen’s Gamble, The Queen’s Captive, The King’s Daughter and The Queen’s Lady, all published internationally, and she is pleased to have recently signed a 3-book deal to continue this series. Barbara previously won acclaim for her contemporary novels under pen name ‘Stephen Kyle’ including Beyond Recall, a Literary Guild Selection. Over 400,000 copies of her books have sold.

Her latest contemporary novel Entrapped is available as an e-book at

Barbara is passionate about helping emerging writers. She has taught her “Writers Boot Camp” for the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, and is known for her dynamic workshops for many writers organizations. She offers her own Master Class workshops focused on each participant’s novel-in-progress.

Before becoming an author Barbara enjoyed a twenty-year acting career in television, film, and stage productions in Canada and the U.S. Visit


Barbara Kyle 5:11 AM  

Joan, it was a great pleasure doing this interview and getting to know you a little. Many thanks. (And what gorgeous bookmarks you're offering!)

I look forward to hearing from your readers - happy to answer anyone's questions!

All best,

Connie 5:21 AM  

Hi, Barbara! I am so very intrigued by Joan Swan's terrific review and synopsis of your new novel. The Tudors is my favorite time in history and Elizabeth I was a very complex person. How lucky you were to have a father who taught history. My memories of history in school are awful as many teachers did not know how to make it an interesting subject. All I remember is the dry facts and dates we had to memorize. I really disliked the subject then but since I really got hooked on historical novels and biographies, I have become a history addict. Who knew? ;) I love how you have woven fact with fiction in this novel. So, did you always enjoy history as a child and did your father help you to find a love of it? As an aside, my family and I lived in Paris for a number of years and seeing historical places in person has also "fed" my addiction to history. I wish you the very best and I certainly look forward to reading your "book baby."
Connie Fischer

Barbara Kyle 6:30 AM  

Hi Connie - how lucky you were to live in Paris!

I lived in England for a year (my home is Canada) and it was wonderful to walk in the footsteps of the characters in my novels.

My dad didn't teach history as Joan's dad did, but I had an excellent history teacher in high school and that's where my love of history began.

Hope you enjoy THE QUEEN'S GAMBLE!

Marta Hoelscher 7:10 AM  

Wow! This book sounds terrific and I'd love the chance to read it! I absolutely love historical novels, and especially anything to do with the Tudors.


Barbara Kyle 7:58 AM  

Music to my ears, Marta - hope you win a copy :)

Barbara Kyle

Mason Canyon 8:24 AM  

Barbara, your book sounds intriguing. Some books on the Tudor-era are a bit dry and stuffy. Yours sounds like it's full of spice, life and intriguing. Wishing you much success.

Thoughts in Progress
Freelance Editing By Mason

Pastor Dan 8:28 AM  

Barbara, I liked your comment about people wanting to have 'characters that they can care about, and characters that face huge challenges.' You have accomplished that well in each of your novels. That is what hooked me. I came to care about Honor Thornleigh and what was happening to her and Richard. I felt their pain, their agony, their loyalty and their desire to see things turn out for the best.

Your writing really touched on those subjects and thus it captures the readers heart as they learn to love your characters.

I look forward to learning about Isabel. Is she going to be just like her mother, or more like her father? Or maybe she will be a combination of the two! Either way, I know we the readers will fall in love with her.

Thank you for blending history with fiction in a way that makes me want to learn more about history.

Barbara Kyle 8:31 AM  

Mason, thanks for your kind words.

Sara 9:17 AM  

I had a chance to read the book early (lucky me) and it was fantastic!!

I'm not, generally speaking, a historical fiction buff, but I couldn't put this one down!

j. barrett 9:20 AM  

jbarrett5 at

do you ever read while you walk?

thanks for having this contest.

Barbara Kyle 10:21 AM  

Pastor Dan - it's touching that you say readers will fall in love with my heroine, Isabel. I really appreciate that.

Sara - your notes after reading the early draft of this novel were so helpful. (Sara's a fine writer, folks :)

J.Barrett - LOL! Nope, can't say I've ever read while walking. Sounds hazardous, since I already bump into enough lamp posts while just daydreaming about my characters.

Jean Kay 1:16 PM  

As I pre-ordered The Queen's Gamble from Amazon, it is on its way to me now and I can't wait. I really hope all the people that have commented above have read the first three in the series already. It is a wonderful, well-crafted series and has taught me history as well as feeding my fantasies. Thanks Barbara.

SiNn 1:18 PM  

wow I love the cover of that book and its been on my to die for wish list since i heard of it I was courious do you ever have input on ur book covers or ever baught a book because the cover is just so beautiful you couldnt help ur self i have found alot of awesome books because i buy things on a whim based on covers as well as content i may just be odd lol

Anonymous,  1:29 PM  

The cover art is absolutly breathtaking! Makes me want to make a special trip to B&N just to buy a second copy! Love your work, and really enjoy author interviews. They are like sneak peaks to me! Thanks so much!

Lynn,  2:14 PM  

Thank for sharing that interview. I like to know a little but I am strange in that I don't want my favorites to divulge too much. I like to keep my fiction.......Real!
I like to keep it a mystery than the stories can stay as if they really happened.
I already pre ordered your book.
Thank you for writing such beautiful stories.

Anonymous,  5:30 PM  

You are a new to me author but you write my favorite genre. I especially enjoy historicals that are based on true life characters. What better way to learn than by enjoying a wonderful story. I enjoyed the interview and look forward to discovering your books.


Krystal 5:34 PM  

I own The King's Daughter and love it.I didn't realize there was a book before it so now I am going to have to buy the others in the series because I hate having one book in a series and not owning the rest of them. I liked the interview it was good. What made you want to write about The Tudor era. I'm fascinated about this era but once in awhile I get tired of reading about the same stuff. Do you ever have to do months of research just to make your stories right? The best book i've ever read on Tudor era was G.J.Meyers book the Tudors the 900+ page book went really indepth about everything imaginable. I can't wait to read the others.

krystal( 5:40 PM  

I forgot to put my email in real sorry and there was no way to edit my last post.

Barbara Kyle 7:14 PM  

Jean - what an elegant compliment you gave my books. Thank you!

SiNn and April - I'm delighted that you find the book's cover so appealing. I do too.

To answer your question, SiNn, the cover art is totally the purview of my publisher's creative team; I have no input. They're the experts.

I'm very happy with the consistent look they've given the series: each book has a hint sex, a touch of danger, and a strong woman.

Barbara Kyle 7:28 PM  

Lynn - I'm with you: keep the mystery :)

Krystal - So glad you enjoyed "The King's Daughter". To answer your question: It wasn't the Tudors who intrigued me at first; it was Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII's chancellor. He features in the first book in this series, "The Queen's Lady."

I created a ward for More, Honor Larke, in that story. The next books flowed from that first story, carrying on into the reigns of two of Henry's children: Mary and Elizabeth.

And, yes, all four books have required much research (which I love doing.)

Anonymous,  8:29 PM  

I hope I didn't say something wrong . When I found your books, I fell into a world in which I would have loved to live. All I meant was, I allow myself to fall into your stories and relax and dream.

Robin 8:46 PM  

This book looks fantastic, I would love to win it!

Robin D
robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

Lolarific 11:11 PM  

I love the cover. It's just as much intriguing as the story within it! Thank you for the giveaway and the chance to win!


Barbara Kyle 4:48 AM  

Lynn, I'm glad you feel so at home in the world of my books. Thanks for sharing that :)

Linda McDonald 7:44 AM  

Great interview! I agree, reading about characters who face huge challenges is is the best. Love the cover too!


Meljprincess 12:25 PM  

Hello Barbara!
Enjoyed your interview. Wish I could attend your workshop.
I am plotzing! An ARC? OMG. I would love to add QG to my fabulous ARC collection. The bookmarks are brill! One of those in the ARC would be awesome! I'm just sayin'...

xo Mel K.
Meljprincess AT aol DOT com

Sheree 5:50 PM  

What a beautiful book cover! I really like the richness in the covers of historicals.

ironss [at] gmail [dot] com

marsbars 6:14 PM  

I love historical romance authors that use "real" history in their work.

Linda 6:25 PM  

Love the cover! It's funny how historical romance is my fav genre while i hated history at school

Barbara Kyle 4:52 PM  

Robin & Lolarific & Sheree & Linda - it's wonderful to hear that you feel drawn to the cover. A book's cover is so important in getting across the story's aura, and I think this cover does exactly that.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Barbara Kyle 4:57 PM  

Mel - I'm glad you enjoyed the interview, and I hope to see you at one of my future workshops.

Marianne - you're right, fact + fiction = the most satisfying stories :)

Angi Morgan 2:04 PM  

The book sounds terrific! I love when romance is based in true history. Can't wait to pick up a copy.

Terrific interview & review.

Anne R 2:11 PM  

This book sounds great. I love the Tudor dynasty.
Great review & interview.
Areeths @ new DOT rr DOT com

Judi 2:20 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barbara Kyle 2:40 PM  

Angi & Judi & Anne - I'm delighted that you love the cover and I hope you'll enjoy the story equally.

Anne R - it's great that you're fascinated with the Tudor dynasty. The Queen's Gamble features the greatest of them: Elizabeth.

My previous books in this series feature two other Tudor monarchs: Henry VIII and Mary I. So, lots of Tudors to read about :)

Anonymous,  2:43 PM  

I love to watch movies about this era so to read a book that blends history and fiction is very intriguing to me. You are a new author to me but I will be purchasing your books for my Kindle. Look forward to visiting your worlds.


Barbara Kyle 3:02 PM  

Tinaburiedunderbooks - that handle of yours is a mouthful, and one that says a lot about your love of books. Hooray :)

Enjoy The Queen's Gamble on your Kindle!

Joan Swan 9:58 AM  

WINNERS Chosen by



Congrats! I will email you for your addresses. Thanks everyone for coming by. Hope you'll stop again for more great authors and giveaways!

Rae,  7:56 AM  

I have loved reading about the Tudor period for several years. I loved you first two books. However, your third book went on and on. I had to struggle. I think you tried too hard to include ALL of the major events of the time, having your characters be involved in each. However, there is only so much energy I could give toward sympathy or admiration when the characters were AGAIN in jail.

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